March 21

1556

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, was burned at the stake as a heretic.

1804

The French civil code, the Code Napoleon, was officially put forth.

1871

Journalist Henry M. Stanley began his trek to find the missionary and explorer David Livingstone.

1960

Police fired on demonstrators in Sharpeville, South Africa, after which the African National Congress was banned. 25 years later, a march marking the anniversary was also disrupted by police fire.

1963

Alcatraz Prison in San Francisco Bay, a harsh maximum security jail which once housed gangster Al Capone, closed.

1965

Martin Luther King, Jr., led the start of a civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

2010

The House of Representatives passes a bill that will overhaul the American health-care system. The bill, called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, will be sent to President Obama to sign into law.

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